A NORTH EAST recruitment firm has praised the versatility of the region’s business community, after it saw business double during one of the industry’s toughest ever periods.
Hospitality recruitment specialist Adkins and Cheurfi saw its entire business grind to a halt when Covid struck, as events across the UK were cancelled and the doors of pubs and restaurants slammed shut.
However, despite such a huge setback, the company decided to turn its problem into a solution, and just as many of the bars and restaurants it served began pivoting to think of new, covid-safe ways to keep their businesses operating, so did its founding managing directors Melika Cheurfi and Dean Adkins.
“When the pandemic hit last year and the hospitality sector ground to a halt almost overnight, we – like thousands of other business owners serving the services sector – were left wondering what it meant for the future of our business,” Melika said.
“We were successful in applying for Covid grants but we knew that we’d have to think on our feet and explore new ways of working if we were to continue building the company when we came out at the other end.”
This led to Melika and Dean, who founded the business in 2016, diversifying their offering and exploring new avenues for the business.
Having already established strong working relationships with high-profile brands such as The Sage, Northumbrian Water and Newcastle United through its hospitality arm, the duo decided to take its proven, ‘candidate-first’ business model that had served it so well up until the pandemic and launch a new arm focused solely on ICT and Professional Services.
Established in January Adkins & Cheurfi IT & Commercial is now growing at rapid pace and having already placed over 50 candidates in the first half of 2021, has created four jobs of its own to cater for the growing demand for its services from businesses both in the UK and overseas.
Dean added: “We knew we had to pivot and we re-evaluated our business and brought in the experienced consultants required to help us expand our service offering into new sectors and futureproof our business for life post-Covid.
“The North East is unique in the fact that it’s business community is incredibly versatile. While it’s known worldwide for manufacturing, it also has a rapidly growing tech sector, thriving hospitality industry and is one of the UK’s biggest contact centre hubs.
“By branching out into such sectors, we’ve already doubled the size of our business – both in terms of headcount and turnover – and after a fantastic start to the year, we’re now looking to continue investing in the business with a new office space to cater for this growth.”
Melika and Dean started Adkins & Cheurfi from humble beginnings in a small start-up office at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) and have since continued to grow their presence at the business hub, charting year-on-year growth and relocating five times in as many years.
“We work with companies across the region and being based at the BIC is perfect as it means we are always less than an hour away from any given client,” Dean added. “The flexibility of its space has also allowed us to grow sustainably and within our means.”
Melika added: “We have just moved for a fifth time at the BIC into bigger office space and we’re delighted to be continuing to invest in the city.
“Over the years, so many recruitment firms have flocked to Newcastle, despite Sunderland being a hive of activity. We have a fantastic university on our doorstep, numerous colleges and sixth forms and so much development happening all around us and we’re looking forward to expanding our footprint in the city as we look to the future.”
Donna Surtees, centre manager at the North East BIC, said: “One of the things that is truly unique about the BIC is our ability to provide small businesses with a nurturing environment that encourages growth while providing them with the security of being able to scale sustainably and Adkins & Cheufri is a perfect example of this.
“It’s been a real pleasure working with Melika and Dean over the past five years and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the team as we look to the future.”